I am riding in my third Hazon Golden Gate Ride this Memorial Day Weekend. I first rode because it seemed like a fun way to raise money to do good things in a Jewish way. I next rode not just for that – dayenu! – but for the powerful sense of community I knew I’d get with fellow riders. Where else can you finish gutting out a 60-mile ride through the most beautiful coastal hills imaginable and then turn to study Torah with some kindred text-loving nerds?
This year, I ride with some deeper intent. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my investment advisory firm’s philosophy around investing. My firm is different from many – we invest our clients’ assets with somewhat of a ‘slow money’ approach. Kind of like some people grow and cook ‘slow food,’ we invest patiently around long-term value, and avoid fast-money strategies much as one might avoid fast food (and, our opinion is that fast money, like fast food, is pervasive and ultimately destabilizing to the entire ecosystem in which it is produced).
Fortuitously, I attended the Hazon Jewish Food Festival in San Francisco last month and learned with Yigal Deutscher, the manager of Hazon’sShmita Project and Founder of 7Seeds, who led very compelling teachings about the agricultural laws in the Torah. These laws include Shmita, the seven-year cycle that requires that the land and people slow down, share resources, and shorten and then ultimately forgive debts. Shmita is not business as usual, but business unusual.
Now, I don’t run a farm. And yet, there are powerful lessons to be learned from our ancient teachings about modern-day business and investment. These laws address how to arrest the extremes of the business cycle, how to move patiently and slowly with care and intent when it comes to putting resources to work, and how to make sure others are cared for in your act of producing. This year I ride to continue the conversation and learning so that I can continue to bring these strands of Torah and the way I work for others, together.
Sue Reinhold, Ph.D.
Third-year Rider, Hazon Golden Gate Ride
Founding Partner, North Berkeley Investment Partners